Jimmie Johnson cleared to return, will race Sunday at Kentucky Speedway

Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 last week, has two negative tests this week

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CONCORD, N.C. (Hendrick Motor Sports) – Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has been cleared to return to competition. He will drive the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports in this weekend’s Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

After testing positive for COVID-19 Friday afternoon, Johnson did not compete at Indianapolis on Sunday, marking the first time he has missed a race in his Cup Series career. He tested negative twice this week – on Monday and Tuesday – and was cleared by his physician Tuesday evening in accordance with NASCAR guidelines. The driver never experienced symptoms.

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“My family is so grateful for the incredible love and support we’ve received over the last several days,” Johnson said. “I especially want to thank Justin Allgaier for stepping in for me at Indy and being a true pro. I’m excited about getting back to business with my team this weekend.”

Following Johnson’s diagnosis, four Hendrick Motorsports crew members were tested for COVID-19 with all four receiving negative results. The No. 48 team will have its regular personnel roster for Sunday’s event at Kentucky (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

Johnson, 44, is currently 15th in the driver standings, 46 points above the cutoff for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Hendrick Motorsports has implemented detailed procedures to protect the health of its team members. They include daily COVID-19 screenings at the team facilities; the separation of facility operations and traveling personnel; split work schedules; stringent face covering and social distancing requirements; and an increased level of disinfecting and sanitization of all work areas.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com